*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Saturday 27 July 2013

The next time someone calls you a 'Gaijin'...

whip it out and call yourself a 'resident'?

Japan no longer has a 'foreigner card', but a 'resident card', I discovered on getting mine renewed recently. Well done.  Semantics matter... a very little bit.  Japan's still neither going to increase immigration nor the birth-rate, because old social-conservatives living in inaka sucking the tit of the state* vote LDP or worse: still doomed.

*Without public pensions or concreting mountains, rivers and shores, what money would there be?

Thursday 25 July 2013

Need more 'blue pill'

This may be the most stupid thing I have seen in 2013. I happen to think the 'Chushingura' is demented all on its own; however, it has nothing on this Hollywood version.  The '47 Ronin' story happened, and has been retold by Japan's greatest kabuki playwrights. You want a metaphor? Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' with a half-Carthaginian hero, nymphs, satyrs and Greek gods, retold by the Chinese, in Chinese.

Keanu Reeves?  The only thing he was cast right for was an alien, and the movie still sucked.

But hey, a 'magic white man' makes it all good.

Monday 22 July 2013

Fees for 'international schools' in Tokyo

Ceci est très intéressant... A list of all the fees for 'international schools' in Tokyo.  My employer is one of the many.  French nationals in Tokyo pay half for their kids to go to their lycée as for most international schools in Tokyo, and a third the cost of the most expensive. This brought to my attention by my wife, who's met Japanese mothers with French husbands. The French government must be subsidizing it: even the rates for children without a French national parent are cheaper than other schools. Were we here any later, I'd consider 'French immersion', which as a Canadian makes a fair amount of sense.

Cheaper than the French, The 'Indian International School' has got Japanese to go against their usual prejudices to send their children: it's only 600 000y/yr and it is an English language school.

Sunday 21 July 2013

A woman who should be president.

Senator Warren, who'll never be allowed to be.  Howard Dean wasn't either.  Hell, though Warren just proved financial regulation saved major American banks from collapse from '33 through the early eighties (and through WWII) the video of her saying so was pulled from MSNBC.  But it's below, for now.  Watch it quick.  You don't think it was just one twat at MSNBC disappearing this, do you?  How cute of you if you do.  I bet you also think critics of American power, with evidence behind them, crash into a lot of trees by themselves (R.I.P. Michael Hastings).

Pursuant to the first comment I got, below, I did minimal research on Warren (the Wikipedia link on her name, above...).  I think it's to her credit that she's no 'socialist', though I come further to the left than that.  It seems she's what we used to have and call 'Red Tories' in Canada, before they got swept into the 'dustbin of history' by the Neo-Cons who took over their party; she is a capitalist who understands that capitalism operates best when it acknowledges it relies on a healthy society.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. ... You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Japan: 'la marche futile'

No, not quite like that, but futile still.

Nor am I talking about the following.

I laughed when I went looking for links with this Google search: 'Japanese peripheral vision'.  382000 hits!

I've told the story before about racist-girl who accused Asians of being poor drivers for having 'slanty eyes'.  Never mind she drove 140km/h in a Saturn, the collision rate's 1/4 per capita in Japan as in Canada, and Asian eyes are wider than tall (i.e. 'slanted' for peripheral vision).

Bad enough that a short people have legs short relative to their shortness, but their stride turnover is pathetic.  Salarymen roll around drunk faster than they could walk.  Japanese pedestrians and cyclists do some dumb shit walking: stop in the middle of the path, make random changes of direction, and turn suddenly and walk into me.  Sure I have animal magnetism, but the truth is these people could never be let loose in the wild (outside Japan) because they'd either get a beat-down for walking like tools, or get run down for same.  I don't know why so few fall onto the train tracks or the road for all the sense they show walking.  Maybe those aren't Chuocide after all. 

I am losing my shit.  I need to get home soon permanently, but three weeks in August will have to do for a year to lower the homicide rate in my end of Tokyo.  It hasn't come to physical violence yet (beyond shoving), but fuck cultural-relativism: only fuckwits walk like many Japanese, and need to be told what they are.  So I have, but in English as it is so much more 'kowai!' to get sworn at in English by an angry 6'1" balding middle-aged white dude than were I to do it in my sadly less masculine Japanese (if anything Japanese can be said to be 'masculine').

It's not peripheral vision: it's road sense.  Friday, had a Shitamachi townie turn into the road just in front of me on a ride this masculine, while I was on my bicycle doing 30km/h.
I avoided that, but then he turned back off of the road across my path again.  I'd swerved to the gutter to avoid his first stupid, so now had no room to get out of it before making contact with him.  Brakes helped but I was still going to hit him: gave him a good Canadian hockey body-check.  Good, as in it didn't hurt me.  He sure got his eikaiwa, before he sped off.  Just as well, feeble Japanese pigs would have found a way to believe him, though he'd entered the road from his house.

More Japanese-as-hothouse:
Impractical for the road and poseur a ride as it is, it's a Japanese keirin bike that could be sold abroad for more than a scooter costs here.  That is a hell of a locking job.  I'd steal it on principle, not that it's big enough to ride off on.  I didn't check to see if it is not lamely on a freewheel, but I've only seen one Japanese on a fixed wheel, but if you're going to go so 'authentic' as to ride without bar-tape (on the road, not a velodrome, but never mind...) should you really have front and rear brakes on a keirin bike?*  Seen near my gym.

*No brakes allowed on a velodrome, so the bikes come without anywhere to bolt them.  You can fudge brakes aftermarket, and should do so for the front if you'll use it on the road, though many abroad don't: relying on 'skip-stopping' (skidding) and having more accidents.   Bad enough to use a track bike on the road, and nominally intelligent to make it a bit safer with a front brake, but the back brake gives less than 30% stopping power to any bike, so if you need that too you should have gotten a road-fixed-gear bike, no?

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Japanese: Bike as Metaphor II

Been here before.  Saw this around Hibiya station in the morning.  I count seven kinds of fail, and there's not even a kickstand.  More?  Do chime in.  I'll hide the answers in a comment.

Saturday 13 July 2013

"The thrill is gone..."

Not really.

I am, as the Japanese say, menkui: a 'face-eater' to be literal, a 'sucker for a pretty face' to translate better.  I have not let it have me make too many mistakes, but it's led me about by the nose often enough.  Not led by the priapic appendage, because my thing for an individual woman's face has more often stopped well short of bed.  I never could figure out what was 'my type' and rested smug that my tastes were catholic.  Not so.  I assumed that it had to do with pheromones, although that's nonsense when you are struck dumb by a woman on the train platform while you're inside it with salaryman who've not bathed since the evening before. Half of the fun was trying to figure out if I had a type.  I have been attracted to women of various ages, all of the 'races', and whatever other variable you can think of.  Now that I know exactly what 'my type' is... the loss of the mystery is the loss of much of the fun.  Here's a little sample of 'my type'.

Kato Koyuki is one, though she often looks drawn and has eyelids the Japanese do not favour, but she has what makes her 'my type'.

Ah... Takigawa Christel.  It's not that she's a 'hafu', or that the other half is French, though neither hurt (and that she walks like an adult is a fine change), but she has the same feature as Koyuki-san.

Forget 'hafu', go for three 'races'!   Hasegawa Jun.

I can even take East-Asian out of the equation: whoever these are.

Have you spotted it yet?  Well here you go: this feature prominent means she gets off more easily the way hetero men like to do it.

Subconsciously, I'd figured out who should have vaginal orgasms more easily (which may as much mean I am lazy, selfish and after ego-gratification as mean I am 'giving').  Yes, my wife's is, but no, I haven't looked at pictures of exes to see what I already am sure of (nor comment on if my wife's lip is an accurate advertisement).  I also know that straight men who've read about this are going to look at their present and potential mates in a new way.

The loss of some thrill is loss of mystery.  I was getting a coffee at a Beck's the other day, and there was a rather plain and somewhat stout cashier (well, by Japanese standards) who I just wanted to eat alive.  Before I even looked again, and of course I did look again, I knew that I'd find she had a prominent tubercle in her upper lip.  Sure enough...

Wednesday 10 July 2013

"American Football"

I couldn't watch it with the sound on, as my family was in the room (but out of view of the screen).  You may not want to watch it at all.  However, I felt I owed it to the men in Guantanamo to watch it, since my country's government (Canada) supports the American regime, and I felt I owed it to Bey, for having the balls and empathy to undergo it.

But you say 'the terrorist are guilty'?  Fuck you.  Maher Arar certainly wasn't, and he very nearly didn't get out after all he suffered.  And those who are guilty of something that would stand up under international law, under judges not under American control?  'The Rule of Law' can address that, and so can humane incarceration.  The issue is not primarily the 'feeding': they are fasting because they are enduring inhumane punishment, whether guilty or innocent.  America is committing war crimes there, among its multitude of them, and the agents of it, from the grunt forcing the tube in to the president endorsing it, all should hang from gibbets, if America is going to honour the principles it insisted on at Nuremberg.

Torture defines the torturer, and his society.  We used to believe that about Fascism.  We aren't brave enough to hold up a mirror, or smash those who represent us this way.  Not very nice to know how Germans felt in the '30s, is it?  That video is America, and Canada, and Britain, and the EU, and...

There are various events that made me switch from being a 'small c conservative' to a raging leftist, but I remember the initial epiphany as the bloodlust of America in Gulf War I, and its disinterest in the obligations of the conqueror under international law and norms to protect civilians; most of all it was the war crimes of 'the Highway of Death'.

American Football  (the first American invasion of Iraq)

It works.
We blew the shit out of them.

We blew the shit right back up their own ass
And out their fucking ears.

It works.
We blew the shit out of them.
They suffocated in their own shit!

Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew them into fucking shit.
They are eating it.

Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew their balls into shards of dust,
Into shards of fucking dust.

We did it.

Now I want you to come over here and kiss me on the mouth.
--Harold Pinter

Saturday 6 July 2013

End of the 'Munroe Doctrine'?

As the economies from south of the American border all the way to Tierra Del Fuego got stronger, and as a middle class within it got larger, it was going to be true that the US would find it more expensive to push them around as they have long done: it was cheap for America, when there were only two classes and only one they had to deal with.  Anglo or Latino, nobody with any influence cared about the sufferings of the 'swarthy' poor.  Snowden's work has sped this process a little, but damn hasn't the US given it a hell of a boost, by interfering with the flight of Bolivia's head of state, and we got proof to confirm our suspicions of who are America's bitches.

Edward Snowden offered asylum by Venezuelan president

As I have said, US power-players are wildly incompetent, frightened, or both.
Russian news reports, quoting those they described as sources within the Russian Security Services, it began when an American official failed to notice that the target of their hunt – fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden – was at one airport and the Bolivian presidential jet was taking off from another, about 35 miles of horrible Moscow traffic away.
Even 'The Atlantic', to the right, admits that yes, the plane left from a different airport and there could have been no discreet way to get Snowden from one to the other.  Puts me in mind of two things: the US bombing the Chinese Embassy in Serbia, and Lewis Lapham's story of interviewing for the OSS disgusted that the most important question to the interviewer was if he knew the colour of an Ivy League co-ed's lingerie (a 'secret handshake' to keep acceptance to 'the right sort').  Stupidity is entirely possible, but so is conspiracy.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Am not exactly a misogynist.

I only like women with a sense of humour...

Trouble is, I've found it less often in the following women:
- straight
- Canadian Anglos
- vegetarian
- primary teachers rather than middle-school
- middle-school rather than high school
- white
- suburban
- middle-class
- car drivers
- mortgage slaves rather than renters
- those who talk about TV dramas
- those without brothers
- those without adult sons
- religious
- those who marry within their tribe past the second generation

The blue highlighting bemoans the fact that I should never have taken on a career in a suburban Catholic school board's elementary schools!  Still, even in Japan, I had my time wasted yesterday by one who did not even match all those highlighted (more than six, though).  Stupid of her: I Cc'd my administrator with a message to her that she was out of line and that in future I would only communicate with her with him as a witness.  Oh yeah, he and I drink together.

I might have found a woman with a sense of humour in any one of the groups I listed (except vegetarian) but the more that describe them the less likely.  I still believe in their economic, legal and political rights (so I am not a misogynist, in fact) but I resent every moment spent with a woman with no sense of humour as much as I would a man without one, if I met any very often.  Too many girls got by on looks, even if only with daddy, whereas few men do, and most men have had 'punch in the face therapy' at least once for being a dick.  Every kid needs it.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Hyperpower ≠ Smart

It's shocking how little of this story appears in American or Canadian 'journalism'.

I am glad to see the US making everyone pissed off at them together. I'd say the US should let Snowden go, as what they're doing makes them look even worse than they do. The only reason to take this course is if they think there's something worse they can stop getting disclosed; or stupidity.

South American nations furious over diversion of Bolivian president's plane

In Snowden's shoes, now that we've a taste of what the US will do, I'd publish all the files.  The US is responsible for the crimes he's gotten evidence of, and would be responsible for any collateral damage of dumping all of the files on the Internet and with multiple news sources.

Fuck America. A view getting more universal on this planet.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Not so smug about bicycle commuting today

Found my bike's rear tire flat last Friday morning, so didn't ride to work.  Fixed it on Saturday with a tube I'd repaired.  Found it flat on Sunday morning.  Fixed it again on Sunday with a new patch where the old one came off.  Rode to work today, Tuesday.  Found it flat the third time at the end of the workday, and found out that I'd split a rear lock nut in half (torqued my fixed wheel too tightly).  Fucking aluminum bites me in the ass again.

I don't carry spares for those, so put the bike inside the school building, went back to my classroom to change out of cycling togs and back into something less Lycra for the train home.  Tonight I have ordered another tube, two more lock nuts; put a tube, spare lock nut, fresh cycling clothes and a pump in my bag to go to work tomorrow.  If all goes well I ride home tomorrow, and schlepp home various on Thursday.

Lessons?  Only those I knew already but had ignored:
- Don't patch and reuse tubes because the fucking patches fall off
- Carry a spare tube and carry patches to use only if the spare also goes.
- None of this costs real money compared to a car.